Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal: Day 1

on December 7, 2015

First off, I can’t thank you all enough for your words of encouragement and support. When I feel low and painfully worried (which happens often), I reread all your kind words, and they really help. Thank you for always being here for us.

We’re journaling Daisy’s recovery, at first day-by-day so we can keep track of everything. Hopefully as the days go by, things will “normalize” and our updates won’t be quite as frequent. I hope to put up some “fun” posts in between!

Daisy’s surgery went well, she has a long incision down her back that we need to keep an eye on, but so far it’s doing well. If you hate seeing sewn-up incisions, scroll past this photo!

Daisy post op incision

There was a 95% chance of a positive outcome from the surgery, and Daisy is doing relatively well except for the fact that her back left leg isn’t working well yet. It’s just kind of hanging and flopping a bit, and when she’s lying down it’s in freaky positions, but the neurosurgeon said not to rearrange it. We weren’t sure if it was paralyzed, which really scared us, but today we saw her move it a little bit, so we’re hopeful.

Monday, 12/7 – First Full Day Home

Today felt about a week long, mostly because even though the hospital gave us great instructions and written information, there are always things that are different from what’s written as well as problems you run into along the way. We’re adjusting, but I feel like it’s going to be a very long 8 weeks. (Total healing could take a year or so.)

Calming the whining – We’re not hearing any of the horrible loud, constant crying and yiping or pathetic pained facial expressions that went on around the clock for two days after Daisy’s meniscus/ACL tear surgery. That’s what we were expecting this time. But it’s not as bad – there are extended periods of whining that sometimes get a bit louder. We did some research and discovered music specifically modulated to heal and calm dogs, created by a neurosurgeon along with a composer. The one we got is harp music (Harp of Hope: Animal Therapy Edition) – and it’s miraculous! We put it on when Daisy is whining and within five minutes, she’s in a deep sleep that lasts for a good half hour. There’s also piano music created the same way called Through a Dog’s Ear that will be our next purchase.

Daisy post op spine 1

Eating – For some reason, Daisy won’t chew her kibble. We can’t give her canned food because it gives her diarrhea, so we’re soaking her kibble to make it soft and mushy. One problem overcome! She won’t eat much, her appetite is affected by the pain, the meds, and her inactivity (which the vet said was normal), so we give her what she’ll take a few times a day. She eats about 10-20 pieces each time, and we’re happy just to see she has any appetite at all.

Meds – Daisy refuses to take her Tramadol pain med, even smothered in peanut butter or pumpkin. We tried mushing it into her softened kibble, but she’s actually sniffing each kibble and rejecting the one with the Tramadol – complete with a shiver when she smells it. We thought we’d gotten one into her this morning, but we discovered that this little sneak of ours had dropped it and laid on top of it, hiding it from us. She has had no pain medication since we brought her home Sunday afternoon. This is when its difficult to have a smart dog – they know exactly how to get around whatever they don’t want! We have been able to get the Prednisone into her, though. That Tramadol must taste horrible!

Going Potty – Nothing since we’ve brought her home. The neurosurgeon said that if she didn’t pee for any 24-hour period, we had to express her or she runs the risk of a UTI, plus a full bladder presses on the spine and causes more pain. This is something we’ve never done, so we watched some YouTube videos about it and also read the instructions the vet gave us. Of course, it did come down to this, but we couldn’t get it to work. So we had to run her back to the hospital tonight so they could show us what to do – fortunately they’re a 24-hour emergency hospital, so doctors are always there. They’re extremely compassionate and helpful – they encourage us to call any time of the day or night if we have questions or concerns, and to bring her in if we feel the need to have someone see her. I can’t tell you how comforting that is.

It wasn’t a pleasant experience with the expressing – the vet found that Daisy’s bladder was so overly full, it was dangerous. He showed DD how to express her – we’re supposed to be able to feel the bladder, but we can’t feel it (nor could he) because her abdomen muscles are so tight and firm. He helped DD do it, but Daisy yiped and screamed and even tried to bite him. It was horrible, but it got done. Now we’ll have to try to do it ourselves, but he told us that if we still have trouble with it, we can bring her in any time of the day or night. These doctors are truly a blessing for us.

Physical movement – Being confined to 8 weeks of strict crate rest doesn’t allow for much, but then again Daisy doesn’t want to move anyway. We have to use a sling on her back end and hold her so that only her hind toes touch the ground and her front legs do all the walking (of which there are only a few steps a day). Her left back leg is limp right now, but today we saw some encouraging small movements driven by the thigh muscle. She can’t put any weight on it at all, but clearly it’s not paralyzed. When she rearranges herself in her crate, she just kind of drags her back end around. We have faith that this will be temporary.

Daisy post op sling

We were told by the neurologist that improvements should happen by the week, not by the day. Yet we saw a couple of small improvements today already, so we’re very encouraged. We’re dreading having to express Daisy three times a day until she pees on her own, and like new parents, we’re still waiting for her first poop, which might not be until midweek.

Onward to Day 2 tomorrow.


27 responses to “Canine Disk Surgery Recovery Journal: Day 1

  1. Cupcake says:

    OMG, Daisy! We thought you were brave (and you are!), but your parents are the bravest of all! Wow! This will be an interesting journey. Mom and I said some more prayers for you and your parents and doctors. We have no doubt that you will have a full recovery. Hang in there, Sweetie. xoxo

    Love and licks,

  2. Oh gurl!!!! How terribles! I don’t likes Ma pushin’ on my tummy six-pack either! I can’t imagine tryin’ to push my pee out! Butts, you know it’ll help you, so it’s best to let them push and prod.
    I am sendin’ you tons and tons of POTP and healin’ vibes and all kinds of prayers!!!
    Oh, and maybe some margaritas for your peeps…the peeps tend to worry so, and I find this helps! BOL!
    Ruby ♥

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thank you Ruby, your POTP and prayers mean a lot to us. My peeps would probably down those margaritas before I could even sniff it! Why do they get yummy stuff and I’m stuck with Tramadol!? Poo!

  3. amkuska says:

    Can you grind it up and slip it into cooked hamburger or something? Or is it liquid?

    • raisingdaisy says:

      It’s a tablet; we’re grinding it up and mixing it with peanut butter, but we still have to force it into her mouth because apparently she can smell it. (We can put the Prednisone tablet into peanut butter whole and she takes that with no problem; Tramadol must be nasty!) We tried mixing it with pumpkin and then with softened lamb kibble, but she’s onto us and now sniffs each and every kibble piece before eating it. Hamburger is next on our list – thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Fozziemum says:

    Oh you brave girl 😦 ouchie! But we know you can do this…you need to take your meds for Mum so you can get some pain relief..sending you all gentle hugs and lots of POTP xxxx

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thank you so much, Bev. I can’t believe how much Daisy is going through – all the extra nasty things besides the pain from the surgery itself. It breaks my heart, but I try to stay positive and strong in her presence because I know how dogs can sense our emotions, and I want to help her be strong. But during the brief times I’m away from her, the tears flow.

  5. kolytyi says:

    A PUPDATE, YAY!!!! OMG, Daisy, I think the most important thing is to write lots of complaining pee-mails because of publication of unauthorised piccies about your NOT middle-aged NOT-curly back!

  6. POTP that your recovery goes well sweet Daisy.

  7. Jan K says:

    I am glad to hear at least that you are seeing small progress. I can just imagine how stressful this is for you, and it’s so good that you have someplace available to help 24/7. I remember how awful it was having to drain Sheba’s incision last year (thank goodness we haven’t had to do that this time so far), it sounds like what you have to do is so much more difficult!
    I don’t know how fussy Daisy is or if she is limited in what she can eat, but when we once had a dog who had to take chemotherapy drugs, we put it right into a piece of raw hamburg. We’ve also had great success with our cat and the Greenies Pill Pockets, and I think her meds taste awful too.
    Good luck, hang in there, and we are all pulling for Daisy and you to get through this and have her back to her happy self as soon as possible.

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thank you so much, Jan. Hamburger is next on our list; right now my daughter discovered that freezing peanut butter (just for a few minutes, to the point of making it able to hold its shape) with the ground pill in it allows her to get it halfway into Daisy’s mouth, and then she pretty much has no choice but to mush it up and swallow it. But we’re planning to try hamburger tonight to see if that’s easier for her, I’m hoping the smell of the meat will mask the smell of the Tramadol, because apparently Daisy can smell the darn thing right through pumpkin, peanut butter, and lamb kibble.

  8. Oh my goodness poor Daisy and poor you. Thunder was on Tramadol for an injury and he would not eat it either. We had to basically shove it down.

    • raisingdaisy says:

      That’s what we’re doing now too. We hate doing it – she’s suffering enough, and every couple of hours we have to do something unpleasant to her, the last thing she needs is awful tasting medicine too! You’d think the manufacturers of Tramadol would try to do something about the taste!

  9. Mary says:

    Holy cow, poor little girl. And poor you. So much worry. Have you thought about getting some Honest Kitchen food? Since it’s dehydrated it’s soft like canned. These guys love it and I can put Roxys pill in it every morning and she has no idea. It’s probably smaller than what you are giving Daisy though. Hang in there, this to shall pass, and she will be her old self soon.

  10. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. You guys are doing great – best of luck!

  11. Me says:

    Poor, poor Daisy – and you! I’m sending lots of positive thoughts your way and will be thinking of you often…I can’t imagine what you are all going through.

    When we were caring for my Aunt’s dog and she had had a stroke (different I know) we had to give her meds by crushing them in jam, then smearing it on her gums. She didn’t enjoy this at all but she needed the meds. Also she really hated eating and had no appetite; the vet was able to give us wet food that smelt stronger, and we also found heating any food made it more tempting.

    I know you can’t offer wet food, but if you and your vet are happy heating it up might help a little.

    Hoping you see more improvement and you are all managing okay xxx

    • raisingdaisy says:

      That’s a good idea about heating up the food to make it smell stronger and cover up the Tramadol. Thanks so much for your positive thoughts, your support helps so much.

  12. OMD! Daisy, I am SO happy you’re home. It might take time but I just KNOW you’re going to have a full recovery with your mom and dad taking care of you. Trust me when I say, Greenies Pill Pockets are INCREDIBLE! Molly is a pill spitter but she gets fooled by the Pill Pockets EVERY time. Trust me, it’s easier than any other concoction your parents will try. I already can’t wait for the next update. *ear licks* Noodle (Mom sends lots of love to you and your parents!)

  13. Barb says:

    Oh my, you are all going through so much hard stuff right now – but it will get better; Daisy will soon get the idea and be peeing on her own as her body recovers from what was a massive surgery. You are doing great too and Daisy knows how much you love her (in spite of trying to get her to have the Tramadol). Have you tried wrapping the tablet in raw meat or cheese? It works with Poppy!
    Sending you all love and hugs and praying for a full recovery for Daisy.

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thank you Barb, for your prayers, love, and support, we so appreciate it. Hamburger is the next thing on the agenda to try. Daisy likes cream cheese, but it doesn’t always like her, and in her delicate state we don’t want to take a chance on anything that could cause vomiting. I’m hoping the burgers will do the trick.

  14. amkuska says:

    Its been two days, how is Daisy? Is her back leg working any better?

    • raisingdaisy says:

      Thanks so much for asking. I missed posting last night because I was hoping to get some pictures in, but I gave up and just posted text today. Tonight’s post will have pics. Daisy improved today – much less whining! And she peed on her own; that’s a big step. 🙂

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